Caroline in the Delta

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 05 2010

Sunday morning.

I woke up at 6:00am today, not with the usual heart-racing Sunday anxiety, but with complete knowledge I would not be able to sleep again. I stayed awake through my watch beeping at it’s 6:14 alarm, 7:00 beep, and 8;00 beep before getting out of bed and stepping onto my cluttered, old-carpeted floor.

Last week I introduced to my students “B3WE” something I bluntly stole from Sarah. BEST 3 WEEKS EVER! This week it ticks down to best 2 weeks ever, then I’ll be down to one more week. We have a ‘major’ test this Wednesday, one that is required for me to give out, based on a curriculum called The Learning Institute. I don’t get to see the test before the test day, and the questions are considerably more difficult than those students will find on the Benchmark at the end of the year (our big state test).

I will be honest. It is December, and my confidence as a teacher does not exist. Every day is totoally different. This past week was: Monday = fine, Tuesday = hellish, Wednesday = wonderful, Thursday = mess, Friday = reward day for students that have had good behavior. I spent two and a half hours umpiring for kickball in a very, very loud gym.

The Q word, the word Laura and I vowed to never say again, it plagues me. I want to be comfortable. I want to be with my family. I want to be better at what I’m doing.

Whenever I think about how much I don’t want to be here, I stop to think about the person I want to be, the ideal Caroline in some hypothetical universe. I think about someone I would absolutely admire in my situation. What would that person do? Would that person walk away and find a comfortable retail job, find a marketing job in New York, give up? How would that person tackle the problems I’m having?

Sometimes it helps. Sometimes it makes me feel even worse, even more paralyzed, because I see the things I could be doing that I’m not doing.

The past week or two I have continued to see even more support from the other sixth grade teachers and my administration. The relationships I’m building with the adults at school are what have sustained me. I owe it to them to keep asking for help, I owe it to Teach For America to not back out of the commitment I gave last March, I owe it to my kids to not abandon them (even if that’s the one thing that would make them happiest at school…)

Ohhhh, December Sunday morning. It has snowed in Michigan. It was about 60 here yesterday. I am slightly sick and excited to get through these last two weeks before break.

3 Responses

  1. Wess

    10 more teaching days. I love your blog and I love your thinking; and I’ve decided to follow your lead with that Q word. Keep swimming!

  2. mathlovergrowsup

    Don’t do it! I wanted to SO badly my first year and it got better. And I’ve never been so proud of finishing everything. And some of my kids did in fact learn even if I couldn’t demonstrate sig gains.

    You can always be doing something more. And that’s not a realistic mindset. You won’t be perfect because no one is their first year, but that’s okay. Your kids will still learn. You can make it to xmas!

  3. Cindy

    no one is perfect, ever, except in the eyes of their g-d . . . you are amazing, and I venture to say incredible and near to perfect as you can be . . . enjoy the freezing that is Michigan in winter!

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